Wednesday, January 28, 2015

PKR deems former PM’s statement on oil royalty ‘insensitive’

Home - News - Sarawak

Posted on January 28, 2015, Wednesday
KUCHING: State PKR says former Prime Minister and Petronas advisor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad’s statement that the state’s request for oil royalty of 20 per cent is too much, is ‘insensitive’ to the sentiment of Sarawakians and an insult to the State Legislative Assembly.
PKR state deputy chairman See Chee How said Dr Mahathir should be more sensitive in view of the growing Sarawakian sentiment against the federal government.
“The federal government must pay heed to the motion calling for an increase of petroleum royalty from five per cent to 20 per cent as it was unanimously approved by the entire State Assembly,” he said.
See maintained that the 20 per cent was not a ‘magic figure’ nor a mere populist rhetoric, but a realistic figure which was the outcome of cautious deliberation and Petronas could afford paying that amount.
He added the higher oil royalty was needed by petroleum producing states particularly Sarawak and Sabah to accelerate infrastructural and social economic development in these two East Malaysian states.
The Batu Lintang assemblyman was responding to Dr Mahathir’s statement that for Sarawak to ask for 20 per cent of oil royalty ‘was too much’ in his keynote address at the opening of International Energy Week 2015 here yesterday.
“His statement that 20 per cent is too much to ask would certainly cause embarrassment to the state government and an insult to the State Legislative Assembly,” See told The Borneo Post yesterday.
As Dr Mahathir still held and wielded much power to influence the decision of the federal government and the Barisan Nasional backbone party, Umno, See hoped the former prime minister would understand that “Sarawakians are now demanding recognition and respect for their altruistic contribution the federation for the last 40 years, bleeding its most valuable natural resources”.
“It is unfortunate that certain political leaders from Putrajaya and those influential political figures like Dr Mahathir continue to ignore the facts that the East Malaysian states are unfairly treated and remain backwards in development and progress.”
“With his influence in Petronas, I would expect Dr Mahathir to speak fairly on the plight of Sarawakians who had given him much electoral support during his time as the premier of Malaysia.”
See added it was Pakatan Rakyat’s pledge to increase petroleum royalty from five per cent to 20 per cent for the petroleum producing states in Malaysia to ensure that these states would enjoy their well-deserved progress and development.
“We call on the state government to stand firm and be resolute in the demand for the 20 per cent petroleum royalty which has the full mandate of all Sarawakians.”
~ Borneo Post

Time for Bukit Aman to look at re-inventing the police force

Last updated on 24 Jan 08:51 AM

Clockwise: Zahid, Phua and Khalid
OUTSPOKEN: It is now quite clear that Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has put Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and perhaps the entire police force too in a tight spot.

Zahid wrote to the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the United States that Paul Phua Wei Seng, a Malaysian who used to run a casino in Macau and now facing charges of running illegal sports betting in Las Vegas, is not a member of the Hong Kong 14K triad. The minister also said that the gambling kingpin had in fact helped the government in certain security projects!

This is not the first time the minister in charge of the police force got himself entangled in a public conflict with the police chief. Some years ago one of Khalid’s predecessors Tan Sri Musa Hasan found himself embroiled in a similar conflict with the then home minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. 

Curiously not too long before that, Musa was also entangled in a row with the deputy minister of home affairs. Musa’s predecessor, Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar, even went to the extreme of warning the administration of the then prime minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that members of police force would not vote for the ruling Barisan Nasional in the forthcoming general election if the government proceeded with the setting up of the IPCMC, the proposed monitoring agency for the police force.

It was no surprise that the government backed off as the police force is composed of some 100,000 members nationwide. Together with the military – which has close to 150,000 members - they constitute 25 percent of the entire federation’s public service.

Back to the issue of Paul Phua, it was not the first time IGP Khalid contradicted a cabinet minister: he was also caught in a public spat with Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz not too long ago over the security situation in Sabah. 

The latter was obviously concerned about the security – or the lack of it – in the Land Below the Wind; something that was flatly denied by Khalid.

Whatever the truth behind these issues, from the point of view of the Constitution, it is the minister who has the final say. This is because the ministers are elected and they are responsible to Parliament. This is indeed the essence of our system; namely the parliamentary system of government. 

The public servants, no matter how senior and high ranking they may be, could not override the government of the day whose pillars are the Cabinet that is composed of the prime minister and his ministers.

To let the police dictate the matters tantamount to abdicating their role and responsibilities on the part of the ministers. For one thing the police force are just public servants who are not elected and there is no way to make them responsible. While they may be taken to court or be put before disciplinary tribunals they could not be made responsible in the way ministers have to face the MPs in parliament.

It is worth noting that some developed countries do not have a police chief for the entire nation. Many European countries, such as Germany, arranged their police force in such a way that the force is broken up into regional set-ups. It is true that major cities like London and Manchester have their own police chiefs.  So does Scotland Yard. But obviously these are not centralised like ours.

Meantime, in both the UK and US, the armed forces are headed by a senior officer who is rotated among the army, navy and the air force. For the past decade this has become the practice in Malaysia too.

But somehow, the police force is still stuck in the old mode. 
For some reasons only known to them, the force has been resisting reforms, the most obvious being its opposition to the setting up of IPCMC which has served well in monitoring the police in many developed democracies.  

There are many reasons why developed democracies go for the above model. But the most obvious one is fear that a centralised police force could be a threat to human rights and civil liberties. It has to be said that dealing with criminals and their activities is not the same as handling foreign enemies or other external threats such as terrorism.

As such there is no good reason why the police force should be organised like a military or paramilitary organisation. It appears that our police force is very much a remnant of the past with roots still linked to British rule.

Dr Abdul Aziz Bari is formerly IIUM law professor who now teaches at Unisel. He is also Senior Fellow at IDEAS.
- See more at:

S'wak PKR files judicial review to stop redelineation

3:28PM Jan 28, 2015
By Joseph Tawie
A Sarawak PKR assemblyperson filed a judicial review application in the Kuching High Court this morning to compel the Election Commission (EC) to review its “unconstitutional” redelineation exercise.

Naming the EC as the sole respondent, Batu Lintang assemblyperson See Chee How wants the current EC redelineation exercise for parliamentary and state seats to be declared null and void.

See is seeking several declarations to be made by the Kuching High Court which, among others, include:
  • The publication and notification of the EC to review the redelineation of the Sarawak state constituencies to fill the Sarawak legislative assembly is not in compliance with the provisions contained in the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution, and hence should be declared null, void and of no effect; and/or alternatively,
  • The proposed recommendations of the EC to review the division of the Sarawak into federal or parliamentary constituencies, for the purpose of elections to the Dewan Rakyat as unconstitutional and is null, void and of no effect;
  • That there is serious and considerably lacking detailed particulars of the proposed recommendations and the draft constituency plan, which are opened for inspection from Jan 5 up to Feb 4;
  • A mandamus order to compel the EC to republish a notice of its proposed recommendations to review the division of Sarawak into constituencies for the purpose of elections to the state legislative assembly, in full compliance with the provisions contained in the 13th Schedule.
The 13th Schedule concerns the procedures to be abided to in a redelineation exercise.

Speaking at a news conference this morning, See - who is also Sarawak PKR vice-chairperson - said he is making the application against the EC because it has abridged, restricted and impaired the applicants’ rights to have a notice of the effect of EC’s proposed recommendations.

'Voters were not properly notified'

See noted that a copy of the proposed recommendations were supposed to be opened for inspection at a specified place within the constituencies; and that representations - with respect to the proposed recommendations - might be made to the EC within one month after the publication of such notice.

However, he said, the EC only published the notice in the sister papers of The New Sarawak Tribune and Utusan Sarawak, which have limited circulation in the state - and in the PKR affidavit filed, these papers were shown to have no circulation in various rural centres whose voters are affected.

See also stressed that there is "serious and considerably lacking" information in the proposed recommendations of the EC.

As an example, See pointed out that the EC did not publish electoral rolls at the centres displaying the proposed recommendations.

Instead, he said, voters have to pay RM4,531.20 in order to obtain a copy of an electoral roll.

The electoral roll - contained in a compact disk - lists a total of 1,111,939 voters. However, the purported detailed particulars of the EC's proposed recommendations show that there are 1,109,134 voters.

There is a difference of 2,259 voters, he noted, adding that this would confuse voters as to how they might be affected by the proposed delimitation and review exercise.
~ Malaysiakini

The truth behind constituency redelineation

12:15PM Jan 28, 2015
By Ng Chak Ngoon

COMMENT It will be very safe to say that the next general election will again be won by BN. It will even be safe to predict that despite any continued swing of votes towards Pakatan Rakyat, BN will regain enough seats in Parliament for a majority exceeding two-thirds, as was its tradition.

The recent Election Commission’s proposal on constituency redelineation for Sarawak shows why the outcome is so predictable. Anyone having a stake in Malaysian politics, and this means every Malaysian, especially opposition politicians, should take note of this.

In 2008, BN had its parliamentary majority of 90.4 percent (198 seats) that it won in 2004 reduced to 63.1 percent (140 seats). The slide continued in 2013 to reach 59.8 percent (133 seats).

However, this slide will now stop, not because BN has reversed its popularity slide but because the Election Commission (EC) can determine the overall outcome of any forthcoming general election through constituency delineation.

In 2013, BN’s votes and seats continued to decline only because the EC had limited leeway in changing electoral boundaries, mostly in the form of “boundary corrections” which amounted to shifting limited numbers of voters between adjacent constituencies.

Now, in the guise of constituency redelineation it can totally overhaul electoral constituencies wherever necessary to reverse the BN’s declining electoral fortunes, even if its voter support continues to decline.

Shoring up BN's hold on state seats

In BN-controlled states, it can even further subdivide BN strongholds into smaller, and therefore more numerous constituencies, to shore up BN’s hold on these states. Most, if not all, state constitutions require only simple majorities in the state assemblies to adopt changes in the numbers of state constituencies.

An increase in parliamentary constituencies is unlikely, now that BN has lost its two-thirds majority and Pakatan's agreement is required.

However, given the present strained relations within Pakatan, it is entirely conceivable that some opposition MPs will cross the floor in the hope that their party will benefit from a constituency increase - or for they themselves to be individually rewarded.

Not only will this be treachery to the voters who voted for them, any promised gains for the defecting political party will be illusory because the EC, in all its history, has never been about being fair.

In the case of Sarawak, the EC’s strategy for BN’s continued electoral victory is clearly shown in its proposed constituency revision for the state. In 2011, there were 979,796 voters in the state.  The latest figure available is 1,109,134, an increase in 13 percent.

While it would be naïve to expect the increase to be spread out more or less evenly in all constituencies, it is hard to justify the reduction in the numbers of voters in some already small constituencies, while the already oversized constituencies continue to be increased, as shown in the accompanying chart.

In this chart, constituency sizes in terms of registered voters are plotted. Constituencies won by BN in 2011 are plotted in light blue and those won by the opposition (mostly Pakatan) in light red. New constituencies as defined by the EC in its latest (2014) proposal are plotted as columns of solid blue or red.

Assuming that voters’ preferences for various political parties remain unchanged between the last Sarawak state election in 2011 and the next to be conducted, it may be justifiable to predict the overall outcome of the next state elections in Sarawak. Thus, the columns of solid colours represent the predicted outcome of the next state elections in Sarawak.

It will be clear that the largest constituencies in terms of the numbers of registered voters, and which have been won or are likely to be won by the opposition, have been allowed to further increase in size while that smaller constituencies that are BN strongholds have been allowed to be divided into even more numerous and smaller constituencies.

From our analysis, we expect BN to increase its number of seats in the next Sarawak election, from the present 55 to 64, while the opposition may be able pick two more to reach 18 (22 percent of the seats) even if it may get 35 percent of the total votes.

Overall outcome is predetermined

The point being made here is that the outcome of the state election in Sarawak, or the general election in Malaysia, is not decided by the voting public but by the EC. Therefore, its overall outcome is already predetermined even before the first vote is cast.

Going to vote under such a system merely lends credibility to a grossly unfair system designed by EC for BN to win. The only option open to Malaysians hoping for a change of government and a better future for our next generation is to protest against and object to such a charade.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has promised to make Malaysia the best democracy in the world.

But Najib can only succeed if he means it to be in the likes of other similarly “democratic” countries, such the Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea or Democratic Republic of the Congo.

NG CHAK NGOON is a retiree, but remains an activist with Tindak Malaysia, the political-social-economic forum that works to  educate Malaysians.

~ Malaysiakini

Another whistle-blower punished over indelible ink issue


Whistle-blower Major Zaidi Ahmad was found guilty by a military court and sacked. Armed Forces technician Jamal Ibrahim had lodged a police report over the indelible ink together with Major Zaidi. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 28, 2015.

Whistle-blower Major Zaidi Ahmad was found guilty by a military court and sacked. Armed Forces technician Jamal Ibrahim had lodged a police report over the indelible ink together with Major Zaidi. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 28, 2015.
An Armed Forces flight sergeant who lodged a police report along with whistle-blower Major Zaidi Ahmad over the washable indelible ink used in the May 2013 general election has been demoted for breaching Armed Forces protocol, said sources familiar with the case.
The source said the demotion order was issued a few days ago to technician Jamal Ibrahim, who is based at the Butterworth Air Force base, demoting him to the rank of sergeant following Zaidi’s sacking on January 12 after being found guilty of two charges of breaching protocol in revealing problems with the indelible ink.
Zaidi was found guilty by the military court in Kuala Lumpur.
Jamal was charged for breaching the standing order by talking to the media. The source said the punishment was decided after Zaidi’s sacking.
“Zaidi was found guilty and automatically Jamal as well. He was not brought to court but was still punished for the alleged offence,” the source told The Malaysian Insider.
It is understood that Jamal was tried in front of the Commanding Officer of the Butterworth Air Force base.
The source said Jamal was given an option whether to fight his case in the martial court or be tried by the commanding officer and he chose the latter.
The source said that with a "tainted" record following his demotion, Jamal may lose all chances of promotions in the future.
Jamal, who is in his 40s, has served in the Armed Forces for about 20 years and is expected to retire in 2016.
According to the source, Jamal’s salary will also be reduced slightly.
He is unlikely to fight the demotion as he has another year to serve before retirement, the source added.
Zaidi, when contacted by The Malaysian Insider, said he was aware of the punishment meted out to Jamal.
He said he had received a text message from Jamal informing him of the penalty on January 21.
“He was charged for talking to the media. But the only thing he said to the media was that he is a technician at the Butterworth airbase,” he said.
Bersih (The Coalition of Free and Fair Elections) chair Maria Chin Abdullah said the organisation had previously approached Jamal to ask if he needed assistance but he told them he did not want to give prominence to the matter.
“He told us then that he wanted to wait until Major Zaidi’s case was over,” said Maria.
The Malaysian Insider tried to get a comment from the Royal Malaysian Air Force by contacting its media personnel as well as Air Force chief General Datuk Seri Roslan Saad but to no avail. Text messages and calls were not returned.
Jamal, along with Zaidi, who was his superior, and Zaidi's wife Shafinah Abdul Hamid, had lodged police reports on the indelible ink after the May 5, 2013 general election.
Following the police report, Zaidi was transferred out from the base and later faced a military court for going against standing orders issued by the Air Force.
After a year-long court battle, the panel, led by presiding officer Colonel Saadon Hasnan, found Zaidi guilty of breaching two standing orders.
He was found guilty of speaking to the media without the consent of the Defence Ministry and also of sharing confidential information on his transfer order with the media without the consent of the Armed Forces Council under Section 51 of the Armed Forces Act 1972.
Last December 15, the military court rejected Zaidi’s request for a postponement pending a judicial review application, saying the case had dragged on "for so long".
The court had said the authorities had instructed them not to delay the case any longer as much time and money had been spent.
Defence counsel Nasar Khan Mirbas Khan then informed the panel that Zaidi and his defence team would not participate any further in the court martial proceedings as they chose to remain silent.
Zaidi’s previous application to dissolve the panel on the complaint that Saadon had posted an "unfavourable comment" against him had also been rejected.
Col Saadon had allegedly said, using a Facebook account under the name Saadon Tson, that Zaidi should be a rubber tapper if he did not like being in the military.
"Fairness has been compromised. Our client doesn't want the presiding officer on the case to stay," Hanipa Maidin, the defence's leading counsel had said in a news report on November 5.
The panel then handed the matter to the court martial's convening authority, as it was the only body that could decide if the panel should be dissolved.
The authorities decided to retain the panel for the case. – January 28, 2015.
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Zunar's office raided again, 155 books seized

12:38PM Jan 28, 2015
By Ahmad Fadli KC

Police today raided the office of Malaysiakini's cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Haque as part of investigations under the Sedition Act 1948.

According to a member of his staff, six police personnel from the Kuala Lumpur contingent were involved.

The staff member said no warrant was shown.

Zulkiflee, better known as Zunar, is currently abroad.

At the time of writing, the staff were waiting for the office manager to arrive and open the doors to a room where the publications are kept.

Later, Zulkiflee tweeted that three cartoon titles had been confiscated under Section 2 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act, and Section 500 of the Penal Code.

“I am to be interviewed by the TV station BBC London four hours from now. In the meantime, KL police are raiding my office and confiscating cartoons,” he said.

According to Zunar's tweet, three titles totalling 155 books had been confiscated.

They are 66 copies of Pirates of the Carry BN, 86 copies of the English edition of Conspiracy to Imprison Anwar and three books of same title in the Malay language.

Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act prohibits the publication, distribution and sale of seditious materials, while Section 500 of the Penal Code deals with criminal defamation.

However, Section 2 of the PPPA only defines the terms used in the rest of the Act.
~ Malaysiakini

‘Listen to Dr M and stop building mega dams’

10:28AM Jan 28, 2015
By Joseph Tawie


The Sarawak state government must listen to the fatherly advice of former prime minister Mahathir Mohammad to stop building mega dams in the state.

Save Rivers Sarawak (Save Rivers) said this in reply to Mahathir’s call yesterday as such dams brought destruction not only to the environment but also to the livelihood of the natives.

Save Rivers is a coalition of several environment NGOs against the building of dams and destruction of native lands.

Mahathir had delivered a keynote address at the International Energy Week in Kuching and told the state government to rethink its highly controversial policy of building mega dams to harness electricity.

He said that the state government should instead build a series of smaller dams like what Austria and Germany had done.

Mahathir who admitted receiving a letter from Save Rivers told the conference that he shared the fears and concerns of the natives of Baram over the negative  impacts that the proposed Baram dam would cause to their land, their livelihood, cultural heritage and their civilization.

SAVE Rivers chairperson Peter Kallang said that the Sarawak government under new Chief Minister Adenan Satem should listen to Mahathir.

“If they do not want to listen to us, the natives, at least they should listen and respect the advice of the former Prime Minister,” said Kallang at a news conference today.

‘Abandon Taib’s plans’

He said Adenan should abandon all the ‘controversial and destructive’ policies which were espoused by the government of Abdul Taib Mahmud.

“We know that Adenan is more kind-hearted, approachable and that he has the interests of the people at heart, and we hope that he should abandon the controversial policy of building mega dams in the state,” he said.

Kallang (left) cited the unsolved problems and miseries of the people who were affected by the Batang Ai, Bakun and Murum dams.

He said that he did not want the natives in Baram to be confronted with an uncertain future.

Under Taib, the state government had built Batang Ai, Bakun and Murum dams and has plans to build 12 more mega dams in the state including the most controversial proposal to build Baram dam.

The Baram dam once completed would wipe out the natives’ civilization, cultural heritage and destroy 26 villages and longhouses. Some 20,000 would be resettled elsewhere.

More than 38,000 hectares of their ancestral lands would be submerged by the dam water.

Natives still in pitiful state

Meanwhile, eight leaders from Sg. Asap, Bakun who were present at the media conference spoke of their miserable lives.

One of them Ngajang Miden, from the Ukit community accused the state government of being 'cruel' to the Ukit people.

The government, he said, spent millions of ringgit to look and protect wildlife such as monkeys and 'Orang Utan' than the 500 Ukits who are only found living in one longhouse in Belaga.

He described the Ukit tribe as 'endangered species', pointing out that there are only two longhouses owned by Ukits in the whole world.

Besides one longhouse in Belaga (Malaysia), two longhouse are found in Indonesian Borneo - one at Long Pangai, Central Kalimantan and the other at Matarunai, Btg Kepuas, West Kalimantan.

"The government treated us worst than the animals," Ngajang said, pointing out that the government not only failed to compensate their lands, but also had been lying to them.

The government surveyed their land and measured their longhouse in 2005.

Yet, until today they have yet to receive their compensation.

Ngajang urged the Baram natives to strongly oppose the construction of the Baram dam in order to save them from the sufferings and miseries that the Sg Asap resettlers have been experiencing.

"Don't listen to the sweet promises of the government," he warned.
~ Malaysiakini